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Werner Heads Consolidated Warner TV Distribution Unit

The Warner Bros. Television Group will consolidate its two domestic TV distribution divisions, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution, into a single entity.

Under the restructuring, the combined unit will be headed by Ken Werner as president of the expanded Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, while Eric Frankel, who had been in charge of the cable-focused unit since 2001, will leave the company.

“In the last few years, the markets served by our two divisions have evolved into one marketplace,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, in a statement, announcing the move. “It is clear that having two domestic distribution units in an environment of blended distribution windows is neither financially prudent nor strategically smart. Having one operation represent our product to syndicated, cable and satellite buyers domestically will help us to better serve these clients, be more nimble and responsive in the marketplace and heighten our competitive advantage.”

Werner was named president of WBDTD in August 2006 and has overseen five major programming sales deals in the first-run and off-network syndication marketplaces: the launch of TMZ; the renewal of The Tyra Banks Show; a long-term partnership with NBC Universal Television Studios for entertainment magazine Extra, talker The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the upcoming The Bonnie Hunt Show, now cleared on stations reaching 90% of the U.S.; a renewal of Without a Trace; and the sale of Volume 41, a 35-title theatrical package.

Under Frankel’s leadership, WBDCD struck major deals for theatricals, including the Harry Potter, Batman and Superman franchises; and long-term output pacts with TBS, Oxygen and AMC.

On the TV licensing side, Frankel closed hundreds of deals, including pacts for ER, The West Wing, Two and a Half Men, Friends, Without a Trace, Cold Case, Smallville, Gilmore Girls and Will & Grace.

Frankel was also actively involved in the development of pay-per-view/VOD events, including boxing and live concerts, plus the production and/or distribution of several original weekly series and regular specials for cable, broadcast and satellite television, notably VH1's Hard Rock Live and  Russell Simmons’ syndicated Oneworld Music Beat.